Solar Power

Why Solar Panels Work in the Winter

There are various myths surrounding solar energy, which are slowly being eroded as the emerging technology becomes better understood and more widely adopted by those looking to reduce their impact on the environment and generate clean energy at home.

One of the most common questions asked about solar panels is whether they work in the winter, when the days are shorter and a great deal colder. This shows a misunderstanding about the operation of solar panels, which is in no way determined by temperature. In fact, the electronics present in solar PV panels can actually work more effectively in colder temperatures than in excessively hot ones.

Solar PV (photovoltaic) panels absorb sunlight and convert it into usable energy, which can be used straight away or stored in batteries to be used later or sold to energy companies. Because these generators are powered by sunlight, the heat generated by the sun is of no consequence, meaning that a bright day in winter can produce just as much electricity as one at the height of summer, depending on the level of exposure.

Solar panels can also function in cloudy or overcast conditions, though these will not yield comparable energy to clear and sunny days. This means solar PV panels can still be an economical option even for properties that often suffer inclement weather, as the generators could still receive between five and 50 per cent of summertime radiation that can provide a significant boost to your home energy.

That’s not to say winter doesn’t pose some potential problems for solar panels though, particularly when the panels themselves are covered by snow. While the heat produced by solar panels is usually enough to melt light snow coverage, heavier snowfall of several inches or more could obscure them completely, meaning they will be rendered ineffective until cleared. If you have safe and convenient access to your roof, clearing the panels should not present an issue, however fixing a wiping blade to the end of a rake or other long-handled tool could offer an effective alternative from ground level.

As these and other myths are slowly debunked and solar power is embraced by more homes, the renewable energy generators could play a significant part in combating the problem of electricity shortage. With analysts forecasting that electricity usage will have doubled by 2020, due to more widespread use of computers as well as world population growth, solar generators could offer the extra power needed for individual homes as well as electrical grids.

Janine Barclay writes for a digital marketing agency. This article has been commissioned by a client of said agency. This article is not designed to promote, but should be considered professional content.

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